These days much of my writing work involves reading, primarily articles by other indie authors on various aspects of the self-publishing business. And this is often frustrating for me.
I feel, as one of the poorest indie authors you'll meet (at the moment) disgust, hopelessness, and frustration because of the general nature of self-publishing and the advice so frequently given. Why?
Disgust comes from the observation that everyone is out to fleece and make a buck on the backs of indie authors. This comes from swearing up and down authors have to have a given service. It includes paid subscriptions to social media sites developed by unsuccessful authors that are largely useless (from everything I can see). It includes graphics designers that develop by the box cover design that makes me want to puke. It includes promotional companies that tell authors they need to work just as hard as the PR company in such a way one wonders if they're even worth the hundreds of dollars spent.
Hopelessness develops after I've read yet another article stating "you need this...only $300!" Even if carrion eating scum do provide a service that actually converts to book sales, it is completely out of my reach. Despite having spent the last several years of my life devoted to writing and publishing 6 books, I don't have a dime to even pay for a printed proof at this point, let alone a crazy service that may or may not actually help me sell books. Hell, I'm pining over the fact that I don't have money for reading fees to submit my short stories to contests. And I know they're good...but it's hard to part with $15 when that could have been bread and milk for my family for one week. Yeah...so $300...forget it.
It's obvious then where the frustration comes from. I wish I could spend money on editing. I wish I could hire a PR person who is actually worth his or her salt. I watch peers have good blog tours and enjoy good editing in my rags at the window. I lick my lips and look pitifully in, completely ignored. I can do nothing other than what I'm already doing...writing. Blogging. Trying to maintain an online presence on social media sites that require more time than a mother can really give.
This is why traditional publishing is attractive to me...not many up front costs and the ability to focus on writing while the other bits get done by experts. It's probably why I've come back to the idea several times even though in *theory* it's not as lucrative.
Thankfully these articles I read about the need to pay for this or that are matched in number (or at least fervor) by indies maintaining one truth - the only thing authors should do is write. Ultimately that is the author's job, to write. By producing a regular stream of material, the indie author increases visibility and readership. All of the other stuff is fluff, or so say such writers.
My super lean starving artist self reads those things and turns away from the window with a deep determined breath. This is my path. I need to stick with it. It is arduous and hardly the cushy restaurant/hotel type experience of these indies with big bank accounts and 6 figure day jobs. I hold Amanda Hocking's experience in my sight as a model and a message - I can be broke now and be stupidly successful and widely read later. It may take a little longer and is by no means easy, but it does mean I get to do the thing I do best.
I just write.